Everything unraveled for the Orioles in the sixth inning of Monday night’s game at Camden Yards.
They led, 3-2, at the start of the inning, but the Texas Rangers slowly singled Orioles starter Scott Feldman out of the game and into the dugout. The Rangers took a 4-3 lead on Feldman and scored four more after Troy Patton entered with the bases loaded. The Orioles offense went down 1-2-3 in the bottom half of the inning.
The sixth-inning struggles are nothing new for the Orioles. It has been their least-successful inning in 2013.
The Orioles have been outscored, 69-40, in the sixth inning this season. That’s a run differential of minus-29. Monday’s game was the fourth in which they lost a lead in that inning.
After giving up six sixth-inning runs to the Rangers on Monday night, the Orioles are allowing an average of 0.77 runs in the sixth inning, according to Baseball Reference. Their 69 runs allowed in that inning are their most in any inning. They have allowed 62, second-most, in the fourth. Their best inning has been the eighth, having allowed 26 in just 90 games.
Offensively, the Orioles are averaging 0.44 runs scored in the sixth, their second-lowest inning behind the fifth. Their best inning, not counting free baseball, has been the seventh.
I can’t really think of a good possible explanation for the offensive struggles in the sixth inning, but I’m guessing the reason they have allowed more runs in the sixth inning than any other inning is that it is often when their starters run out of steam, as was the case with Feldman in Monday’s 8-5 loss and Chris Tillman in Saturday’s loss to the New York Yankees. The Orioles are 21st in baseball with 41 quality starts.
There is a silver lining to this post, though. The Orioles have been good in the seventh, eighth and ninth, outscoring their opponents by 28 runs in those innings. So if they can keep the game under control through six, they will have a chance to win.